Pizza Hut offers up free pizza to laid off Panera Bread employees

Local4 News at 5
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 8:49 PM CST
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Panera Bread in Grand Island shut its doors without notice, and it left employees looking for jobs, but also their next step in life. A couple employees affected were a married couple who worked together at Panera.

However, on Wednesday, a generous Pizza Hut general manager saw the closing on social media and decided to take action in helping make those employees’ lives a little bit easier with a free large pizza.

“(I) got a hold of the district manger or the ex-GM over there, and they gave me a list of the names so we could reach out to those families and do something for them,” said Pizza Hut general manager Hannah Hutchinson.

Hutchinson received a list of employees who worked at Panera from the restaurant’s ex-general manager. The idea sparked from Hutchinson’s previous employer in Kansas, as they did the same for an establishment that caught on fire. She also acted swiftly in getting the idea into action.

“I was just like ‘let’s do something now,’” said Hutchinson. “Let’s do something for them. I just sat at home thinking. It sits on your heart you know, a lot of bad things happen in the world and it’s nice to be able to do something for them.”

She admitted she was nervous that her district manager wouldn’t approve of the donation, but he was all for it. Hutchinson felt the need to do something nice for the crew who lost their jobs.

“What’ve they got like 40 employees,” said Hutchinson. “What is that 40 pizzas? We make donations to schools and stuff all the time. They push us to try to connect with the community. This is a great way to do that without expecting something in return.”

Hutchinson says she loves helping people in whatever way she can and adds that you don’t get many chances to help people by giving them free pizzas.

“I love it because there’s not a lot of chances that you get to do things like that,” said Hutchinson. “So when you get to make a difference like that just out of pure wanting to help, it’s just more rewarding inside than just doing something because you were told to donate something.”

Hutchinson added that while Pizza Hut is closed on most holidays, they actually donate food to hospitals and other good causes.